Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on December 14, 2020.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on December 14, 2020. (Photo: Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Calling for End to 'Economic War,' Rouhani Says Iran Will Rejoin Nuke Deal If Biden Agrees

"Either everyone will implement the JCPOA as it is or they don't. If they do, we will too," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Jake Johnson

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday committed to returning to the 2015 nuclear accord without even an hour of delay if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden fulfills his promise to do so, a vow welcomed by observers as an encouraging sign that the two nations could soon be on a path to restoring diplomatic relations torn to shreds by the Trump administration.

Speaking at a televised news conference in Tehran, Rouhani made clear that Iran is seeking a return to "the situation as it was in 2017"—prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's unilateral violation of the nuclear deal and reimposition of crushing sanctions—and will not accept any preconditions for rejoining the landmark agreement.

"I believe that the era of the economic war has come to an end."
—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

"The U.S. tried for months to include the [ballistic] missiles program and we told them it's non-negotiable. They tried for months to include regional issues as well. They were all discussed and rejected," the Iranian president said. "What can be on the table is that everyone will return to their full commitments."

"Either everyone will implement the JCPOA as it is or they don't," Rouhani added, referring to the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "If they do, we will too."

Rouhani went on to say that Iran, in turn, will not demand as a precondition for restoration of the deal any compensation for the damage inflicted by U.S. sanctions, which have crippled the Middle East nation's ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I believe that the era of the economic war has come to an end," said Rouhani. "This war cannot go on, not because Trump has been defeated and Mr. Biden has won. Even if Trump had won, he would be forced to do away with sanctions."

Sina Toossi, senior research analyst with the National Iranian American Council, called Rouhani's remarks "an important signal that his preference is to have a speedy return to the JCPOA by all sides."

During the presidential race, Biden vowed to revive the Iran nuclear accord, the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has continued piling on new sanctions and taking a militaristic posture toward Iran in line with the White House's disastrous so-called "maximum pressure" strategy, which has repeatedly pushed the two nations to the brink of all-out war.

Since Biden's victory last month, U.S. warhawks—including New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman—have been pressuring the president-elect to use the Trump administration's current sanctions as "leverage" to extract additional concessions from Iran at the negotiating table, instead of swiftly returning to the deal without preconditions.

Writing for Responsible Statecraft last week, former CIA analyst Paul Pillar warned that such an approach would be ineffective and potentially dangerous.

"There will be room for wider discussions and negotiations with Iran in the future," Pillar argued. "But to get to that land of broader negotiations will first require the United States to live up to agreements it already has made, rather than trying to wring advantage out of a patently failed policy."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·


40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·


FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo